Privatisation warning from watchdog
Privatisation warning from watchdog

Governments seeking to maximise sale prices by limiting competition when privatising assets amounts to a tax on future generations, the head of the consumer watchdog claims.

While endorsing privatisations, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission head Rod Sims will today urge governments to sell publicly owned monopolies such as power companies and ports to as many buyers as possible.

In a speech to an economic conference, Mr Sims will also repeat the need for greater use of congestion pricing, charging people more who use infrastructure such as roads, electricity, ports and airports during peak times.

He will also call for changes to competition laws to make it easier for the ACCC to pursue companies for abusing market power and crack down on cartels. A fresh wave of privatisations is on the agenda of Canberra and the States.

The Abbott Government is offering a 15 per cent bonus payment for States that use the proceeds on new infrastructure.

WA Treasurer Mike Nahan announced in the Budget the Government would consider selling assets including surplus hospital land, the TAB, the Perth Market Authority and some port, electricity and wastewater assets. The profits would be used to reduce debt.

The WA asset sales taskforce has said selling Western Power could raise more than $10 billion.

The West Australian

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